Nikon Z7 Review

October 1, 2018 | Amy Davies |

Nikon Z7 Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 45.7 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 25Mb.

Nikon spent a long time building up expectations for the Z7, and by using a sensor which is very similar to the D850, hopes were high that image quality would be just as superb (if not better).

The good news is that the Nikon Z7 doesn’t disappoint, resulting in images which are simply fantastic. The first two new lenses are also excellent performers, and we’re excited to see what else will be made in the new “S” line-up. Being able to use your existing Nikon lenses with the very capable Z mount adapter is also great news for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Detail is very well maintained up until ISO 6400, which is where you’ll start to see noticeable noise especially at larger sizes. Even some images shot at the very top native ISO speed of 25600 are usable, depending on the conditions, with JPEG images giving fairly natural results after noise reduction has been applied in-camera, but it’s best if you can keep to below ISO 12800 if possible. If you’re keen to extract further detail, you can get it from the raw format file.

Shooting in the all-purpose metering mode, known as matrix-metering on Nikon cameras, generally results in pleasing exposures, which is only usually thrown by very extreme, high-contrast situations. Automatic white balance copes well with artificial lights to produce natural colours, but daylight images are arguably a little cooler than you might like. Shooting in raw format means you can adjust in post-production if you’re not happy with the results, while shooting in one of the Z7’s white balance presets can yield more accurate results.

In body image stabilisation is included with the Nikon Z7, which is another marked difference from Nikon’s DSLRs including the D850. This gives you a good advantage when shooting in low light handheld to keep shots as sharp as possible while using longer shutter speeds.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon Z7 is ISO 64 but you can go down to ISO 32 (L1.0) if you wish. At the other end of the scale, the highest native sensitivity of the Nikon Z7 is ISO 25600, but two boosted settings, ISO 51200 and ISO 102400, are also available.

JPEG RAW

LO 1EV (ISO 32) (100% Crop)

LO 1EV (ISO 32) (100% Crop)

iso32.jpg iso32raw.jpg

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

iso64.jpg iso64raw.jpg

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

iso51200.jpg iso51200raw.jpg

HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

iso102400.jpg iso102400raw.jpg

File Quality

The file quality settings available on the Nikon Z7 include Basic, Normal and Fine for JPEGs, and the camera can also shoot 12- or 14-bit NEFs (Nikon's proprietary raw file format) and 8-bit TIFFs.

Fine (13.4Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (10.1Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
Basic (2.19Mb) (100% Crop)

Raw (42.1Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_basic.jpg quality_raw.jpg
Tiff (132Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_tiff.jpg

Low Light

The Nikon Z7 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. There is an optional long-exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when extremely slow shutter speeds are used.

Low Light

lowlight.jpg

Active D-lighting (ADL)

D-lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. Active D-lighting works “on the fly”, before the in-camera processing engine converts the raw image data into JPEGs. The available settings are Off, Low, Normal, High and Extra High, plus an Auto mode.

Off

adl_01.jpg
Low
adl_02.jpg

Normal

adl_03.jpg
High
adl_04.jpg

Extra High

adl_05.jpg

Auto

adl_06.jpg

Picture Controls

Nikon's Picture Controls are preset combinations of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. All 28 different Picture Controls can be tweaked to your liking, then saved and transferred to other cameras.

Auto

Binary

PictureControl-Auto.JPG PictureControl-Binary.JPG
Bleach Blue
PictureControl-Bleach.JPG PictureControl-Blue.JPG

Carbon

Charcoal

PictureControl-Carbon.JPG PictureControl-Charcoal.JPG
Denim Drama
PictureControl-Denim.JPG PictureControl-Drama.JPG

Dream

Flat

PictureControl-Dream.JPG PictureControl-Flat.JPG
Graphite Landscape
PictureControl-Graphite.JPG PictureControl-Landscape.JPG
Melancholic Monochrome
PictureControl-Melancholic.JPG PictureControl-Monochrome.JPG
Morning Neutral
PictureControl-Morning.JPG PictureControl-Neutral.JPG
Pink Pop
PictureControl-Pink.JPG PictureControl-Pop.JPG
Portrait Pure
PictureControl-Portrait.JPG PictureControl-Pure.JPG
Red Sepia
PictureControl-Red.JPG PictureControl-Sepia.JPG
Silence Somber
PictureControl-Silence.JPG PictureControl-Somber.JPG
Standard Sunday
PictureControl-Standard.JPG PictureControl-Sunday.JPG
Toy Vivid
PictureControl-Toy.JPG PictureControl-Vivid.JPG

Crop Modes

The Nikon Z7 is an FX camera but it can also shoot in one of four crop modes, including a 19.5-megapixel DX crop mode, a 37.9-megapixel 5:4 mode that uses the full height of the sensor but trims the sides, a 38.3 megapixel 16:9 mode, and a 30.3-megapixel 1:1 square mode. The boundaries of the cropped areas are denoted with thin black lines in the viewfinder, which otherwise continues to show the full FX view, allowing you to see what's happening outside the cropped frame - perfect for sports and action shooting.

FX
crop_mode_01.jpg

DX

crop_mode_02.jpg
16:9
crop_mode_03.jpg

5:4

crop_mode_04.jpg

1:1

crop_mode_05.jpg